Vernalis has reported a disappointing set of results for its experimental mid-stage pain drug V158866 and said it would stem the flow of cash into its development. 

The drug, a fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) inhibitor, is being investigated as a treatment for neuropathic pain as a result of spinal cord injury.

But a Phase II proof-of-concept study failed to meet its primary endpoint of a significant reduction in pain, although endocannabinoid levels were found to be raised and the drug was well tolerated.

Consistent with its strategy of becoming a commercial business, Vernalis said it is not planning to make any further investment in the programme, seeking to realise its potential value through partnering instead.

“The key focus of the organisation remains the transition of Vernalis to a commercial company, with the forthcoming launch of Tuzistra XR, our extended release cough cold product for the US prescription market, which is progressing as planned,” noted chief executive Ian Garland.